Report: Warriors and David Lee will work together to trade big man


David Lee said he knows the Warriors will try to trade him this offseason.

That’s not a reluctant admission.

He’s on board and wants to help.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Lee lost his starting job to Draymond Green, and Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli limited Lee’s minutes off the bench. Lee doesn’t want to get DNP-CDs regularly.

And the Warriors sure don’t want to pay his $15,493,680 salarywhich could add about $34 million in luxury-tax payments – to sit on the bench.

Lee can help a team on the court – he helped the Warriors in the Finals – but he probably still has negative value. By that, I mean teams would prefer not to have him and his contract rather than have him in his contract.

He’s a fine player, but at 32, he has no upside remaining. Plus, his lack of outside shooting and defense limit his ability to contribute in the modern NBA.

This likely comes down to what sweeteners the Warriors would in a trade to convince another team to take Lee. They’ve already dealt their 2017 first-round pick and their and their 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 second-rounders. But their 2015 first-rounder could be dealt, as could could their first-rounders in 2019 and beyond.

Golden State sounds committed to making a trade happen. Lee sounds committed to making a trade happen.

Now, it’s just about convincing another team to take the forward. That won’t be easy, but at least the sales job will be coming from multiple directions.

Lil B explains which NBA players are and are not cursed (VIDEO)


Last month, the Based God’s Curse derailed the Houston Rockets’ season. Lil B took exception to James Harden allegedly stealing his cooking dance and placed the same curse on him that has been in effect against Kevin Durant for the past several years.

On Monday, Lil B appeared on ESPN’s SportsNation to address Durant, Harden and other players who might be cursed. You can watch the video here (via SB Nation).

Here’s what the Based God had to say:

  • On Kevin Durant: “Oh, yeah. Kevin Durant’s curse is active. He has to play me in a game of 21. That’s the only way the curse can be lifted.”
  • On James Harden: “I actually lifted the curse off Harden. Once I saw all the trials and tribulations that Harden was going through off these [Western Conference Finals], I actually felt a little bad.”
  • On Marreese Speights: “He missed that dunk and a lot of people say he cost the Warriors the game. Usually, you see that anyone who speaks about Lil B in a negative way has some kind of character flaw. Marreese misses a wide-open dunk. Forgive him, man.”
  • On LeBron James: “There’s definitely no curse on LeBron. You know, shout out to LeBron. I would never try to interfere with anything that’s natural. We want the best players to win this game.

So, there you have it. Durant is still cursed until he plays Lil B one-on-one. Everyone else is free to go about their lives.

Cavaliers expanded lead while LeBron James rested in Game 2


LeBron James is great, and two games of the NBA Finals have shown he’s capable of leading practically any supporting cast to a championship level while he’s on the court.

But that still leaves a few minutes each game when he rests. In an airtight series that has seen two overtimes, those few minutes are crucial.

It appeared the Cavaliers were doomed offensively during those stretches – especially without Kyrie Irving, who scored or assisted all Cleveland’s points while LeBron sat in Game 1.

Instead, the Cavaliers actually outscored the Warriors, 4-2, without LeBron in Game 2.

Cleveland didn’t turn into an offensive juggernaut, scoring its four points on four real possessions (not counting Matthew Dellavedova picking up the ball in the backcourt in the final seconds of the third quarter). But with its stellar defense and 50 minutes of LeBron, that was enough.

Without LeBron, the Cavaliers mostly worked through Timofey Mozgov on pick-and-rolls. That failed to generate anything on the first possession. On the next two, the ball-handler – Iman Shumpert and then Matthew Dellavedova – got a screen from someone else before working into the pick-and-roll with Mozgov. Both times, Mozgov drew a foul made the pair of free throws.

Here are those sequences:

When LeBron rested for the third and final time late in the third quarter, Mozgov was off the floor. Cleveland tried running a pick-and-roll with Tristan Thompson instead, and the results could have been disastrous if not for Marreese Speights’ missed dunk:

If Speights makes that, LeBron’s resting periods – and the game – could have gone differently. Ditto if Mozgov, a 72% free-throw shooter on the season, misses one his attempts from the line. Or if Andrew Bogut makes one of his two during this stretch. Or if Draymond Green allows the Cavaliers to complete their intentional foul of Bogut on another possession here rather than missing a jumper. Or if…

In an overtime game, there are countless “what ifs?” But Cleveland came out ahead in Game 2.

Moreover, the Cavaliers found something that worked with Mozgov screening and rolling.

Intentionally fouling Bogut wasn’t a bad idea. It was among my suggestions, though I’d prefer to do it with LeBron in the game and getting a de facto rest during the defensive stoppage. But if Cleveland can play the Warriors to a draw, let alone an advantage, playing straight up without LeBron, all the better.

David Blatt should ensure Mozgov plays the entire time LeBron sits in Game 3. Leaning on Mozgov might not be sustainable, but I’d take my chances with that for now. It at least worked in Game 2.

Steve Kerr should focus on making the pass to Mozgov more difficult to complete or not giving him such a clear path to the rim. Andrew Bogut twice got caught in no man’s land between the ball-handler and screener with little ability to get a stop, and neither Stephen Curry nor Andre Iguodala adequately tagged Mozgov during either foul-drawing roll. One of those things needs to change, though the former could make it easier for the ball-handler to drive and the latter could make it easier for him to find spot-up shooters on the perimeter.

The Warriors didn’t defend poorly while LeBron sat, but this as easy of an opportunity as they’ll get in this series. They must take better advantage.

Marreese Speights misses wide-open breakaway dunk (VIDEO)


Here’s one for Shaqtin’ a Fool: Finals Edition. Warriors big man Marreese Speights had a wide-open fast-break dunk and the opportunity to cut the Cavs’ lead to one at the end of the third quarter. Here’s what happened:

Safe to say that could have gone better.

Strength in Numbers is not just marketing slogan, it’s philosophy for Warriors


OAKLAND — What happened in Game 1 of the NBA Finals may have seemed like a playoff anomaly to people not used to watching Golden State — their starters bogged down to start the game, so Warriors coach Steve Kerr went deep into his bench early and trusted them to turn things around.

It wasn’t. It’s how the Warriors have played all season.

“We know we didn’t play that well, it wasn’t us,” Warriors’ Brazilian reserve guard Leandro Barbosa said of the start to the game. “We were excited and nervous because we hadn’t been in that position before, it was everything new for us, so many people, it was a different feeling. Once we got our momentum, everything was very good.”

“It’s oftentimes our second group that gets the ball moving and gets our team going, not just (in Game 1), but we’ve had several games where that’s been the case,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Sometimes our starters get a little bogged down, and we go to Shaun (Livingston) and L.B (Barbosa). and Andre (Iguodala). Last night Mo (Marreese Speights) with his return, and the game can change. Sometimes you just need a different look. And I do believe that there is a certain chemistry that comes with relying on a lot of people too.”

It’s easy to point to Andre Iguodala coming off the bench and guarding LeBron James and saying that is how the Warriors’ bench contributed, but it was much more than that.

In Game 1, Golden State had a lineup with at least three bench players on the court for 14 minutes and were a +4 in that time, with some key lineups doing very well. It was the Warriors bench that sparked a comeback from 14 down in the first half.

source: Getty Images

Contrast that with the Cavaliers, where David Blatt played six guys at least 33 minutes, giving limited duty to anyone else, such as James Jones (17 minutes) and Matthew Dellavedova (nine minutes).

“I think in overtime they got a little bit tired, their rotation is a little bit shorter, and our rotation is a little bit longer, I think that affected the game last night,” Barbosa said, while adding it’s not why he thought the Warriors won.

What Blatt did in Game 1 is what most every coach does in the playoffs, tightening his rotations — and it almost worked. Behind the brilliance of LeBron, the Cavaliers were an Iman Shupert putback at the buzzer away from stealing Game 1 on the road.

But that’s not what the Warriors do. Those “Strength in Numbers” T-shirts everyone wears is not just a marketing slogan, it’s a philosophy.

“I think every team is different,” Kerr said. “I thought about it as soon as I got the job looking at the roster, and, in fact, the first meeting of the season the night before training camp, we had a team dinner, and that was a big theme was strength in numbers. We’re going to try to use our depth throughout the regular season and in the playoffs, and that’s been a big part of our team.”

“I don’t think it should change,” Barbosa said of the rotations. “(Kerr) did that the whole season and the whole playoffs. I think there’s a reason for him to do that, we kind of know what we have to do when we’re out there, he’s got a lot of confidence in us.”

As he should — that bench is a key reason Golden State is up 1-0 in the NBA Finals. And that bench will get its shot in Game 2.